Thursday I came home from work and there was a fly buzzing around the kitchen. I grabbed a tissue, dampened it a bit and ran around the kitchen chasing the fly. Got it. Then I saw another one, ran around and got it/him/she too.
Then I saw something on the kitchen door window just behind the blind—- dozens of flies crawling on the window. Same thing on the kitchen window. I starting swatting at them and killing them all with more and more tissue. Finally I got them all. Carrying the dead little corpses into the garbage. Disgusting!
It felt apocalyptic. Everything dark and dirty and ugly lately does. The flies were like everything ugly coming into my house. Everything dirty. Punishment for my sins. For my sloth. For my stupidity. For my what? What is this? It felt biblical. I thought the locusts are coming next. The wasps or the frogs or the rats or the dinosaurs… let it come let them all come and devour us all and maybe the world might start fresh again…. I was getting a little agitated……
Ran upstairs and there was one fly in the bathroom but nowhere else. I went to bed seriously worried all night about the flies and expecting to wake up with them buzzing all around my face, maybe my corpse. This felt like a Clive Barker story. The one were the woman comes home and sees flies buzzing all over her kitchen, in her fridge even, on the apples, on a piece of steak……….It’s a moody, sad, distressing story. She comes back from the hospital I think after getting some bad test results. Then she’s at a party somewhere where she feels isolated, unwanted, and alone, then she comes home to nothing but flies….. It’s the first thing I thought of, Clive Barker. Master of horror and suspense. But also masterful storyteller, master novelist ( “Weaveworld”, “Imajica”). Oh Clive Barker!
Woke up Friday morning and the flies are back, all over the kitchen door and all over the kitchen window. I ran over to my neighbors next door to see if they had a fly problem. They said yes, the same thing happened to them a few weeks ago. They said there were dozens of flies and they got rid of them and no flies since. They handed me their fly swatter.
I never owned a fly swatter. Killing these flies was a lot easier and a bit less disgusting with it. What a marvelous thing a fly swatter is. What a genius thing; all these years I’ve been using tissues…… I just have to clean and sterilize the swatter now…. I killed all the flies on the door window, all the ones on the kitchen window and then wondered about the basement. There were about a dozen buzzing around there. The basement! There are never flies in the basement. I ran around the basement swatting them here and there on the windows, the ceilings, the floor. When it was all done I was truly disgusted.
I googled “total infestation of flies in kitchen”……. dozens of responses. It is either a migration of flies during the change of season (but I have never had so many…..) or it is a dead thing in the vents, or ducts, or window wells, or outside…. some dead thing and the flies found it, laid their eggs in it and are now hatching like crazy……..
I went out to breakfast with a friend after the fly killing and wondered what I would find when I got home.
Came home. More flies! More flies! In the kitchen again same places. In the basement. The swatter again and running up and down the stairs between the kitchen and the basement and to the downstairs bathroom. Nothing upstairs. I am truly disgusted.
I was tired. I felt dirty. My house felt dirty. My life felt dirty. The world felt dirty. The garden even seemed dirty because where oh where were these flies coming from? I saw no dead creature anywhere. But I wasn’t really looking that hard because if I did find something dead I didn’t want to deal with it…. I’m still getting over having to get rid of a dead little possum a few weeks ago……
I remember that day. Sunday. I walked out into the garden with my coffee. The day sparkled with freshness… there had been rain finally. The flowers were happy and fresh, the air smelled clean, the roses were blooming, the clematis was blooming, the Lysimachia filled the back beds with golden light, the nemesia still blooming, the pansies still bright. I was wandering around happy as a lark and saw something towards the end of the garden, a pile of leaves? crumpled paper? dirt? Getting closer I knew it would be something bad….. please God don’t let it be a rat… It was a dead mangled possum…….. all the beauty of that morning gone… Poof!
There was no one to call to get rid of the dead possum so I had to do it. Grit teeth. Pray. Get shovel. Big one the one that you plant trees with, the long and narrow one so I don’t have to see or feel the thing so much….. I tried to get the possum on the shovel and it wouldn’t go on, the shovel end wrong shape, I had to lift and poke and lift and poke and try to slide it on like, like I don’t know what!!!!….. finally had it and put it in a triple bag and rushed it into the garbage can and into the garage……. I don’t dislike possums like many people do. I think they are very sad-looking.. Very lonely looking. They just want to be left alone….. but dead mangled ones…..
So often you feel so happy and carefree and then the next minute it’s all downhill…. I know there are things far far worse then a dead possum in the garden. But suddenly it all seemed ugly…..the flies, the possum, the tiny mice sometimes in the early spring or fall that get into the basement…… ugh…the heat the humidity the grass turning brown and ugly, even the trees looking sad and withered. Water your trees people!
After killing all the flies everything felt so dirty and awful I wanted to scrub down the whole house. Wash every window, ledge, door, floor, blind, ceiling, dust and wax down each and every piece of furniture. Wash each and every piece of clothing in all the closets and the laundry basket……. I went to get the bucket and rags and mops and cleaning supplies….
I realized as I was starting to clean that I hadn’t really finished my spring cleaning this year. I scrubbed the house thoroughly for Easter and then it was ether too hot or too damp or I was too tired or too depressed. I was always in the garden weeding and planting and watering … by the time the gardening was done for the day the housework was always pushed a little to the side….
I realized that I forgot to buy bleach, there were no real cleaning products in the house. I don’t buy a lot of chemicals but after killing flies you need bleach, acidic disinfecting things……
I had a big bowl of lemons that I remembered. I took three small lemons and squeezed them through a sieve into the hot water in the bucket. I washed all the kitchen windows and blinds, the ceiling fan, and the kitchen floor.
Then I squeezed more lemons and washed all the windows in my sun room and the blinds and the floors and dusted all the furniture and shook everything out and washed behind all the furniture. The house smelled so clean. There was a faint smell of citrus everywhere. The garbage smelled like lemonade….
No sign of any flies. The house sparkled. It was about 7:45 p.m when I finished and I was exhausted. The air outside was still and I heard faint bird calls. Some nights this past week the very air is the color of citrine, apricot and orange. The sun goes down quickly and there is a pool of light over everything– the clouds are edged in neon the air slightly misty and one night tangerine that literally called to me as I was upstairs watching a movie and made me go outside and wonder at the magic of it all.
I poured myself a glass of wine and walked out into the garden. The first thing I saw was a hummingbird…. flying in and out of the magenta monarda. It went from one flower to the next and next. I saw it flit in and out of at least ten flowers, sipping, drinking, breathing…. Then it flew up quite suddenly into the service berry tree and I saw it there, so tiny, sitting on a branch, resting after drinking all that wine, resting from its unexpected gluttony, its debauchery… .
I feel guilty sometimes if I drink more than a glass or two of wine, especially on a weekday….. but this humming bird understands, one is not enough, or even two or three, sometimes you need more, more, more, to drown in it, to drown in all this beauty….. and sometimes you need it to forget, the flies, the mice, the little dead possum….. so here’s to summer and to flies and lemons for cleaning, heres to wine and getting drunk in the garden with the hummingbirds……